Interviews

Notes from November 23.

  • The most important tool of a journalism
  • Use to obtain new info, expand on existing info, clarify facts, explore diff. perspectives
  • Expands upon the basic “who, what, where, how, when and why” of newsgathering

What makes a good interview?

  • Ppl w power and influence
  • Has clear expectations from the interviewee
  • Has a clear angle and Focus
  • Is well researched and well prepared
  • Develops logically
  • Keeps the audience involved
  • Is unbiased and is conducted impartially and sensitively
  • Is under the control of the interviewer
  • Appears spontaneous, energetic

Preparation

  • Decide your angle and focus
  • Get background info on your subject
  • What is the interviewee´s role? (witness, knowledge, opinion, defends position, apologies…)

Getting there

  • Make sure equipment is working
  • Arrive on time
  • Sometimes don’t mention word interview
  • Get down the correct spelling of names, job titles
  • Be open-minded and impartial

Before and on arrival

  • Prepare questions, have notes, memorize it
  • Check your gear and dress appropriately
  • Double check the directions and leave early
  • Politely take control (avoid kitchens, ask to turn off TVs, radios…, rearrange furniture)
  • Make idle chitchat while assembling gear and wear headphones
  • Slate (date, location, subject, interviewee)
  • Repeat what it’s all about
  • Set recording levels (what did you have for breakfast?)
  • Ask your interviewee to introduce him, her
  • Get down the correct spelling of interviewee´s name, job title
  • Ask first Q

The interview

  • Ask brief, simple Qs – one at a time
  • Ask the most important Q first
  • Listen and follow up
  • Be specific – ask for examples
  • Ask for explanations
  • Pause
  • Do not judge
  • Avoid an annoyed or aggressive tone of voice
  • If you do not understand, ask

Qs

  • Ask open-ended Qs – don’t ask yes/no qs
  • Do not load Qs w your personal opinion
  • Don’t limit answers (use: best, worst, most, least…)
  • Follow-up Qs
  • Ask for goals/obstacles/solutions
  • Ask how it started
  • “Is there anything else I should know/You want to tell me about?”

Difficult Qs

  • Ask politely
  • Expect an answer
  • Insist if you don’t get an answer
  • Watch body language
  • Present opposite points of view wo identifying w them
  • Keep your calm

Fairness

  • The interviewee is entitled to know
    • Who will be doing int
    • Which programme it is for
    • Whether it´s live or recorded
    • Whether they will be in discussion w another guests, if so, who
    • The broad subject area – if you´re planning to make a specific allegation, they are entitled to know the precise allegation in words you plan to use it
  • Unless there is an overriding reason, always refuse to
    • Provide Qs in advance
    • Fix a precise duration
    • Fix durations or the proportions of the interview for subject areas
    • Avoid certain subjects
    • Give the guest the right to withdraw or edit the interview after recording, or editorial control